KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher interviewed Aspen’s Kids First program co-manager Nancy Nichols this morning. You can listen to the full interview here.
Over thirty years ago, the voters in Aspen added a .45% sales tax that is split between affordable housing and early childhood. Ms. Nichols explained that over the years the percentage of that split has changed, and recently they have revised the split so that 75% of the funding is for early childcare and 25% is for housing.
These funds are used for many initiatives to support the local providers (such as wage supplements, grants for infant and toddler care, and professional development grants) as well as families through offering a resource and referral service and providing financial aid. This aid is available to assist families that make too much for the state’s childcare subsidy but still can not afford the costs of high-quality childcare.
Here in Utah, these state childcare subsidies are available to families that earn 85% or less of the state median income and are working or in school and can demonstrate a need for childcare, among other requirements. Because Summit County’s median income levels are higher than the state levels, this results in an income limitation that is likely to range between 51% and 64% of Summit County’s area median income, depending upon household size.
In September of 2022, there were only 39 children in Summit County who received a childcare subsidy from the DWS program, and the majority of these children (25) are five years old or younger. We must help connect families to this valuable childcare subsidy. Learn more here.
We also need to invest local public funds to support the essential childcare industry and our families who so desperately want access to high-quality, affordable childcare options in our community. Learn more here.